Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Michael O'Brien, proud alumni of Marist College, speaks to PR students

This past Wednesday, our chapter of PRSSA here at Marist College had the opportunity to meet with Michael O'Brien, Executive Vice President and Director of the NYC office at Ketchum PR, one of the largest global PR agencies. If you thought that elaborate title was not enough, O'Brien also holds a position on the Board of Advisories for the communication department at Marist. As a graduate of Marist, we can relate to him and admire his success in finding a job he truly enjoys--one that changes every day and keeps him engaged.

During O'Brien's visit, he provided insights about the changing world of Public Relations; he refers to the combination of Public Relations and Advertising as "the narrative storytelling of corporations." The position O'Brien holds now at Ketchum did not even exist when he started 11 years ago. Nowadays, we live in a consumer world which grants more opportunities to influence dialogue and thoughts for Public Relations professionals. He presented a PowerPoint that explained how brand management has changed due to social media. "The Living Brand," the title of his presentation, emphasized how consumers make the brand which, in turn, changes the role of brand managers. Now, they must participate with consumers instead of directing the information they receive.

When O'Brien opened the floor to questions, PRSSA students were curious to know what experience would be attractive on a resume. O'Brien responded with valuable resume advice:
  1. Internships (Definitely essential!)
  2. Core writing skills (Also essential)
  3. Multi-tasker, a.k.a juggler
  4. Intellectual curiosity (O'Brien's personal preference)
In my opinion, O'Brien offered us the most valuable piece of advice by encouraging us to create our own brand. Our own brand is unique to each one of us. Our online identity reveals our own brand on social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. We have the power to create and manage our own brand, similar to that of brand managers in the PR world. O'Brien told PRSSA members a nugget of advice: "Starting now, think of yourself as a brand; the brand that is you."

Michael O'Brien pictured with our
PRSSA chapter's President, Alexis Murphy.

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